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Old 08-10-2017, 07:55 PM
dspender dspender is offline
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Bay City, MI
Posts: 416
Default Cleaning wheel bearings

What type of solvent or name of a product should I use to clean the wheel bearings and wheel axle? Is gasoline ok? I think there must be something more effective or safe. I have taken the main tires and wheels off to rotate the tires and there is brake dust on the bearings and axle that I want to remove.
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Old 08-10-2017, 08:34 PM
rockwoodrv9 rockwoodrv9 is offline
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Meridian ID, Aspen CO
Posts: 2,413

Gasoline would be my last choice. For bikes, I used brake cleaner. I just hate the smell of gas and the blowing up part too.
Meridian Idaho
O-320 D2A
Awaiting DAR Inspection
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Old 08-10-2017, 08:42 PM
BillL BillL is offline
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Central IL
Posts: 4,303

I use mineral spirits. It does not dissolve the grease as fast as gasoline, but is safer. Compressed air is good to blow off the old grease and dry the bearing but be careful spinning it, the cage can expand and/or explode. Just be sure to use fresh for the last cleaning.

Op Lims in hand 12-7-17
1st Flight 1-27-18
33/40 hrs
Aerobatics DONE!!
2017 Dues Paid
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Old 08-10-2017, 09:29 PM
Jrskygod Jrskygod is offline
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Edinburg, TX
Posts: 517

100LL. Works great, readily available, dries fast, it's the all purpose cleaner. Probably not a good idea to smoke while using it tho.
Paid for 2018 + extra and well worth it!
RV-9 Flying and having fun, experimenting and having fun, did I mention flying and having fun?
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Old 08-10-2017, 09:44 PM
Kyle Boatright Kyle Boatright is online now
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 3,223

Mineral spirits, a throwaway cake pan, and an old toothbrush.
Kyle Boatright
Atlanta, GA
2001 RV-6 N46KB
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Old 08-10-2017, 10:15 PM
gasman gasman is offline
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Sonoma County
Posts: 3,418

Wipe with paper towels. Spray with brake clean. Rinse with mineral spirits. Inspect. Re-pack with Sta-lube boat trailer grease from Napa Auto parts..... touch it and you will understand.
VAF #897
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Old 08-10-2017, 10:29 PM
alpinelakespilot2000 alpinelakespilot2000 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 3,453

Brake cleaner.
Steve M.
Ellensburg WA
RV-9 Flying, 0-320, Catto

Donation reminder: Jan. 2019
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Old 08-10-2017, 10:41 PM
Michael Burbidge Michael Burbidge is offline
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Sammamish, WA
Posts: 581
Default Nothing

I've read here that you shouldn't use a solvent. Simply pack with new grease until all the dirty grease is pushed out.

That's what I've done for three years now.

Michael Burbidge
Sammamish, WA
RV-9A Flying–265 hours so far!
Last Donation: December 2017
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Old 08-10-2017, 10:42 PM
Steve Melton's Avatar
Steve Melton Steve Melton is offline
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 1,666

I've never cleaned mine. I inspect the race. If it's good, I inspect the bearing looking for any shiny flakes. Then I use a bearing grease packing tool and inspect the old grease that is forced out. If all is good, back in they go.

update: I'm Mike's shadow from above.
Steve Melton
Cincinnati, OH
RV-9A, Tip-up, Superior O-320, roller lifters, 160HP, WW 200RV, dual impulse slick mags, oil pressure = 65 psi, EGT = 1300F, flight hours = 600+ for all

Simplicity is the art in design.

see Amanda Melton for

Last edited by Steve Melton : 08-10-2017 at 10:47 PM.
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Old 08-11-2017, 06:44 AM
Mel's Avatar
Mel Mel is online now
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Dallas area
Posts: 9,925

Originally Posted by BillL View Post
Compressed air is good to blow off the old grease and dry the bearing but be careful spinning it, the cage can expand and/or explode. .
NEVER spin a bearing with compressed air. If it is not packed with grease, you will put more wear on it in a few seconds than a lifetime of normal use.

As said before, just pack in new grease until the dirty grease is expelled.
Mel Asberry..DAR since last century
A&P/EAA Tech Counselor/Flight Advisor
Specializing in Amateur-Built and Light-Sport Aircraft
North Texas (8TA5)
RV-6 Flying since 1993, 172hp O-320, 3-Blade Catto (since 2003)
Legend Cub purchased 12/2017
FRIEND of the RV-1
Eagle's Nest Mentor
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